San Luis Obispo’s own Leo Dumouchelle was one of the thousands of Americans who participated in D-Day 75 years ago.
Dumouchelle joined the service during World War II, and decided to take one of the most dangerous positions. After learning the paratroopers got an extra $50 a month as an incentive for being one of the first behind enemy lines, Dumouchelle jumped on the opportunity and eventually became a member of the 82nd Airborne paratroopers.
As an engineer for the paratroopers, Dumouchelle parachuted into enemy lines.
“Engineers were always first. We laid mines, picked up mines, and that was our job. Then we meet with the other troops and take them through the lines,” said Dumouchelle.
Dumouchelle explained that each mission came with a tremendous casualty, usually losing around half of their troops, and even though he is able to look back on D-Day today, he suffered three wounds throughout his service.
After serving from Africa to Berlin and making a total of 66 parachute jumps throughout his eight campaigns, Dumouchelle is a true local example of a hero.